• Entrance Gates and Gate Access Systems – Buyers Guide

    Custom aluminum entrance gate with access system
    Custom aluminum slide entrance gate with secure access system.

    Entrance gates and access control systems are put in place to recognize, authenticate and authorize the entry of a person into the premises.

    Access control gate solutions can be customized for any home, residential community, business, institution, or public property.  It is best to consult with a qualified professional to determine the best access solution for your needs, but here are some things you should consider.

    Amount of traffic and frequency – Determining the amount of expected traffic and how quickly you need to move it is critical for selecting the right gate and access system to fit your application.

    Space and opening size – Most every gate will need to be custom-designed to fit the available space, application, and opening size.   Depending on the size of the opening the gate may need to slide open, others will need to swing away to open and still others will need to tilt up and out of the way to open.

    Gate operators – You need a reliable gate operator unit with a smooth start / stop operation and a commercial-grade, gear-driven transmission. Ideally, the gate opener should have a minimal footprint yet provide superior performance for any gate weight or frequency. Because it sits outside in the elements the opener should be made of high-grade, quality materials. You should also have a battery backup that will provide you access even when the power is down. Adding solar panels is an option to run your gate when accessing power is an issue.

    Types of Gates

    Gates are most often customed manufactured with corrosion-resistant, high-strength aluminum.  Skilled craftsmen and master welders can create almost any design that will fit the look of the property. Gates can be simple to very elaborate with intricate designs, logos, and artwork.  There are also a wide variety of color options available.

    Sliding Gate – Versatile and are ideal for many commercial, estate homes and premium residential communities.   Sliding gates instead of swinging open slide out of the way on a track.

    Swing Gate – Single and double swing gates are available to accommodate many applications and styles.   These gates swing away to open and back to close.  Frequently swing gates are utilized to control access for premium communities.

    Tilt Gate – Used frequently where space is at a premium where the gate tilts up and away.  Tilt gates are often used for parking garage applications.

    Barrier Arms – Often these work in conjunction with a vehicle traffic control system for commercial, industrial, gated residential communities and apartment complexes.

    Pedestrian Gate – Most often these gates are installed in conjunction with a matching vehicle gate for  a home or business to accommodate pedestrian traffic.  Frequently they are used for access to a community pool or other restricted-access areas.  Used in high a low-security situation, pedestrian gates are available with various locks and push bar options.

    Types of Access Systems

    LiftMaster CAPXLV access portal system for residential communities with live video and two-way calling capability to your smartphone.

    Access control management systems work in conjunction with entrance gates to control and track access to a residence, facility or community providing an extra layer of security for property, equipment, and personnel.   There are access systems for an individual residence or business and multi-residence systems that can accommodate up to 30,000 local codes 64,000 non-local codes.  Unique access codes can be given to visitors on a long term, limited use window or one-time basis.

    Hardware – Your hardware should be heavy duty and weather resistant.  You are likely familiar with user access that is given by entering a code, utilizing a key card, key fob, or even biometrics, like fingerprints.  Access is granted according to programmed rules in an administrative platform and keeps a history log of which cards or fobs have been used and when.  Today access for visitors can be also granted to the property by voice only, voice with still photo and live streaming functionality. More advance systems today have large, full color touch screens with built-in, wide-angle video cameras for still pictures or one-way live video streaming and two way voice to a smartphone.  The touchscreen should be visible in low light, at night and glare resistant.  For multi-tenant residential communities, the access system should have an easy to navigate searchable database to get in-touch with residents.

    Hardware Options

    • Additional external cameras to provide different views of the entrance and to capture license plate information.
    • Solar power kits for when electrical power is unavailable.
    • Expansion panels for entry points management at other access points on the property, such as, a pedestrian gate or pool entrance.

     

    Smartphone Applications (App) – Many access systems today come with an app for your smartphone where the app can be used to open or close the gate from anywhere.  From your smartphone you can grant or deny access to visitors through voice only, voice with still photo, and live one-way streaming video where you can have a two-way conversation depending on the system you select. You can also receive real-time notification when your gate has been opened or closed or has been inadvertently left open for more than a few minutes.

    Access System Connectivity – Aside from hard-wired ethernet access systems, today you can connect your entrance gate access system through a cellular network.   This allows you to place a gate and access system almost anywhere with a low-cost cellular plan.    

    Access System Administrative Portals – Today systems come with cloud-based web portals for the homeowner, property manager or business to control your access systems from your computer or  smartphone.  The platform gives you the ability to add new users, grant or deny access codes, schedule openings/closures.  The system creates an audit trail, this can be a log or there are more advanced systems that have time and date stamp photos that can be stored up to a year by the homeowner or property manager.  Businesses and Property Managers can program regular users and grant temporary access to vendors or visitors.  Homeowners or multi-family residents through the administrative portal are able to accommodate family, friends, home service contractors, lawn service, plumber, dog walkers, party guests and other visitors.  Residents can set up and safely control guest access and set up guest list for one-time, multi-day or recurring events.

    Property Manager Functionality for Multi-Resident or Business Access Systems

    • Ability to control resident smartphone application function.
    • Open and hold a gate open from anywhere with the smartphone app.
    • Close on demand (override holds).
    • Ability to take photos on demand from internal and external cameras.
    • Multiple properties can be managed from a single login on the web portal.
    • With systems that utilize the smartphone app you can eliminate the expense and need to track key cards.

    Types of Access Control Systems   

    Cipher Systems – Where access is granted using something an individual knows, such as a combination or PIN, to gain access rather than having a card or having to access an app.

    Access Control Reader – Basic readers simply read an access card/proximity key FOB access number or allow you to enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for access.

    Pedestal mounted access system.

    Telephone Entry & Access Control Systems – Provides voice communication from a main entry point(s) to residents via a phone network.  Access can also be controlled by using cards, transmitters or keypads.  Comes with an easy to use account manager software.  Often a tiered call tree is set up in the system that will sequentially reach out to program telephone numbers until a contact is made, leaving fewer visitors stranded at the gate.

    Photo & Live Video Streaming – This gives the resident or business an extra level of security where you can visually see the visitor and have a two-way conversation before granting access.  Photos are also stored on the web portal and timed stamp for review later if needed.  These are often stored up to a year on the system.    The ultimate is one- way live stream allows the resident or business to see a live streaming video of the person at the gate and have a two-way conversation before deciding to grant or deny access.

    EDL / Gate Masters manufactures custom aluminum gates at its facility with its in-house design staff, master welders, and skilled craftsman.  We walk you through the whole process from design to final installation.   Our gates are as beautiful as they are strong, but more importantly, EDL / Gate Masters has the experience and technical know-how to correctly install the most sophisticated gates, operators and access systems offered today.

    Like any mechanical device, it is recommended you set up a maintenance program that will ensure years of trouble-free performance.

    We are a third generation, owned and operated company that has been in business since 1964 in South Florida.   Give us a call for a free estimate (954) 972-9300.

    Residential Entrance Gate
    An EDL/Gate Masters custom aluminum slide entrance gate provides additional safety and security.

  • Should I repair or replace my garage door?

    Depending on your location and usage a quality garage door can last from 10 to 20 years. Proximity to the ocean and salt air is a big factor in South Florida for determining how long your garage door will last.  So if your door has only minor damage, but is getting on in years, you should consider getting a replacement.

    Garage Door repair or replace
    Inside view of a Haas Door garage door installation.

    Repair your garage door.

    A broken spring or damaged cables are the most common problems and can be repaired by replacing the springs and / or lift cables. If your door lifts unevenly, makes a loud bang (the sound of the spring failing), or only partially opens a broken spring or damaged cable is most likely your problem.  Garage door springs are kept under high tension and requires special tools to repair, so it is best to hire a professional to do the job.

    A single damaged panel can sometimes be replaced provided a matching replacement panel can be acquired, but in most cases it is better to get the whole garage door replaced.

    Replace your garage door.

    If you have rust, fading or damage to multiple panels you should consider replacing your garage door completely.

    In South Florida garage doors that are not hurricane / impact rated should get replaced. It is important that your replacement door meets the code requirements for your area’s minimum wind speed, exposure and structural type and to qualify for potential home insurance discounts. Broward and Miami-Dade are located in a High Velocity Hurricane Zone, which has the most stringent building code requirements in the state of Florida.  You should consult a professional to make sure the door you select meets local code requirement.

    Do I need a permit? Yes.  A permit is required to insure the garage door has been properly installed following the manufacturer’s installation instructions and the garage door meets applicable building codes.  The inspector will also need to check the manufacturer’s sticker that is affixed to the door to make sure the door meets local building code requirements.

    A 2019 cost vs. value report by Remodeling Magazine lists garage door replacement as having the number one return on investment. A new garage door returns a whopping 97.5% of cost recouped when you decide to sell your home, virtually paying for itself.

    Finally, as one of the largest architectural features on your home a new garage door can give your home a much needed face lift and add tremendous curb appeal.  Garage doors come in many styles that will fit the architectural look of your home, be it traditional or contemporary.  In addition, most doors come in standard colors, but often you can special order a door color that will give your door the perfect finish.

    If your garage door need to be serviced or replaced – EDL / Gate Masters is a third generation, family run company that has been in business since 1964 serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade County.  We carry only the finest quality products with garage doors from Raynor and Haas, plus LiftMaster / Chamberlain openers.   Call us at (954) 972-9300 for a free estimate.

  • 10 Reasons to install a residential access gate

    1. Security

    Criminals often choose easy targets. Installing a residential gate and access system gives a homeowner an additional layer of protection. Thieves will have a much harder time driving off with your car if you have installed a gate and access system.

    2. Gate Connectivity

    These days there are a number of ways to access your gate. Most people are familiar with a remote and a keypad, but LiftMaster gate operators offer the myQ® app for your smartphone. (more…)

  • Garage door not working, it is likely a broken spring

    A broken garage door spring is one of the most common garage door repairs. Garage door springs have a life span and will eventually fail after so many open and close cycles. Typically, a garage door spring will last from 5 to 8 years and should last around 5,000 to 10,000 cycles. Some signs of a broken garage spring include; garage door goes up a few inches and stops, you hear a very loud bang in the garage (the sound of the spring breaking), the cable and pulley are hanging down and when you pull the emergency release rope, the garage door cannot be lifted. These are all signs (more…)